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We can all complain about IMNA, but...
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...you can be sure that will the huge volunteer teams, this wouldn't have happened. Anyone who's ever volunteered at an Ironman knows that there is someone at practically every corner and every intersection, guiding the athletes. Yeah, I know it's the responsibility of the athlete to know the course, but in the heat of battle anything can happen.

10:24 AM: The Jordan Rapp story. He took a wrong turn. There is zero drafting on this course, Monty reports, and in Rapp's case it appears he was just all alone when he made a wrong turn and reentered the lap cutting 5k off its total circuit. When we spotted him in front, or a lap behind -- we did not know which -- it was as a result of the wrong turn placing him in front of the leaders.

That's a bummer for Rappstar - next time, buddy.

It's also a bummer for the 101 crew, as they've had two strange incidents already. A pro (Rapp) makes a wrong turn and goes off course, and (leading) pro woman Ashley Carusone gets struck by a car on course. Road closures, good signage, traffic control...these are all expected at a highly polished event. They're growing pains, but it makes me wonder how well organized the event was? For the one-o-one guys, if you're going to take on the big boys, then you have to be great in every department...people will expect that, since the standard is incredibly high at IM events. Hopefully they work through it, build their fan (and volunteer) base, and continue strong for the next few events, and next few years.

I can't wait to do a one-o-one event next year...Halifax, baby!
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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Hmmm, let's see...

More than one female pro go off course at IM AZ because they don't know the course -

More than one pro has been involved in bike/car accidents at IM LP.

Without hearing all of the details, it's kinda tough to accurately measure what the causes are.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Peanut] [ In reply to ]
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True - it's just that I'm sure we're all hoping that the first one-o-one event goes without a hitch.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
W can all complain about IMNA, but...you can be sure that will the huge volunteer teams, this wouldn't have happened. Anyone who's ever volunteered at an Ironman knows that there is someone at practically every corner and every intersection, guiding the athletes. Yeah, I know it's the responsibility of the athlete to know the course, but in the heat of battle anything can happen.

... Road closures, good signage, traffic control...these are all expected at a highly polished event. They're growing pains, but it makes me wonder how well organized the event was?

First off, I don't have any kind of vested interest in the different race organizations being talked about. I also know that every new race doesn't want anything unusual to happen, but no matter how hard you try, sometimes things do. If its something you have control over, you fix it the next time - if its not, you let it slide.

What I was disagreeing with was:

- the comment that huge volunteer groups guarantee issues won't happen - things can and still do happen

- road closures, good signage, good traffic control may have been in place

I've volunteered at Ironmans, and at mini-sprints. No organization will have an event go off without any hitches, and IMNA events are no different. You just try to make sure nothing big that you have control over goes wrong, minimize the smaller oops that are fixable, and adapt to the things that are outside of your control.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Peanut] [ In reply to ]
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I'd agree...Nothing's perfect, especially first-year events. And, there are quite a few things out of your control, unfortunately. Traffic can be controlled, but even police can't control everything out on a course. It's never 100%. It's also more difficult with a first year race, where the Police have no prior experience with bike/traffic control. It's a new ballgame for them as well, remember. The RD can make sure every intersection/dangerous area is staffed by Police, but the quality of the traffic control varies widely depending on the officer manning the spot. Most just aren't used to bikes going by at 25 mph.

Having athletes going off course and athletes being hit by cars are the two of the greatest fears of a RD.

I know from our perspective, we see a ton of things behind the scenes that we'll fix. We just want to avoid the catastrophic issues mentioned above.

I'd caution anyone against assuming the event wasn't well organized....not enough info available....
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Peanut] [ In reply to ]
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"the comment that huge volunteer groups guarantee issues won't happen - things can and still do happen"

I think that many people learned that lesson the year of the forest fires in Penticton at IMC. The IMC race organization is absolutly one of the best in the business - every possible detail is gone over and covered, but what happens when you have wild forest fires raging in the area that not only pose a danger to the race it self, but also pull half of your volunteers away to help fight the fires! Then what? I could not believe that there where actually athletes in Penticton that year grumbling about the race. It's a miracle that their was even a race that year! Few people know this, but as of Friday night, there was going to be no race, but some how with a massive 24 hour, all-out effort in the part of NAS and the on-the-ground IMC staff and a shredded volunteer force, they managed to have a race on Sunday.


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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The IMC race organization is absolutly one of the best in the business - every possible detail is gone over and covered

Exactly - and unfortunately that is what this new series must live up to in order to be considerred a "success." It's a tough act to follow - they need to be perfect in every way. IM races are superbly run, as are the 70.3 races...the 70.3's took off as wildly popular events right away, partly because of the name, and partly because you know what you're going to get - a great race experience. There are also a lot of IM's and 70.3's, making it tough to schedule around if you're another race promoter. To make it tougher on the One-O-One guys, most of us had already committed to an IM a year in advance...we couldn't race their event even if we wanted to.

One-O-One is a fantastic idea, and I love the venues. I hope they grow and prosper, and I can't wait to do Halifax next year. Unfortunately, they're taking on a marketing maching that puts on a highly polished race experience. The marketing power, and the great race experience they offer is a tough to compete against, and you see it with the registration numbers. In order to gain ground, participants are going to have to come away from this with the same "wow" factor that they get from an IM or 70.3. Hopefully they do.

Someone compared this to Wildflower 20 years ago, and how it started off small. It's not the same climate. There are a TON of options to a racer right now, and somehow One-O-One has to steal away customers if it's going to remain as a viable product...and I would think they have to do it quick. Let's not let the SlowTwitch world cloud our judgement...140 participants is a dismal, pathetic show of support. This is BAD news for the series. Slowtwitch word of mouth will not keep this series alive - it has to be the triathlon general public, most of which have never heard of One-O-One. I also believe that if most of them choose to do a long course event, it will by default be an IM or 70.3. You have to compete with them somehow.

So, how do they build this? Unfortunately, stories of an athlete being hit by a car don't help the cause. They have to get the word out. They have to get huge word of mouth in the mainstream, not on ST. They have to get big media coverage. They have to have the big guns show up and race. They have to market heavily. In effect, they have to be better than their competitors if they'r going to draw away customers. A One-O-One race has no tradition (e.g. Wildflower), and it has no name (e.g. IM)...somehow it's got to build this up, but with only 140 at the first race, how do you do this? The hardcore won't keep it alive.

Again, can't wait to do one next year. Hopefully it's still there.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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Geargrinder -

While I don't know how much race staff cross over there is, but HFP racing (who Shannon Kurek works for/owns/whatever), puts on a large number of races. In my experience their races and NAS races are equal in quality - bad things happen at every race.

How about tacks on the road at Ironman Wisconsin? A farmer driving his tractor down the road? I could go on, needless to say you can't blame what can't be controlled.

Edit: Actually want my best example - Did a race in Lake Geneva a few years ago (not a Dobbs race), where a biker was hit by a car. Guess who hit the biker? A triathlete who had just finished the race and was wanting to get going.
Last edited by: sentania: May 6, 07 10:56
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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I wish them the best, but they have some very tough challenges:

1. As you mentioned, the races that they must compete against and be compared to are superbly run.

2. My sense is the race calendar is getting a bit crowded - for both the AG ranks and the pros. Look at this weekend alone there is the 101 race, Wildflower, St Croix, the Napa 1/2 plus countless other smaller races going on all across N.A. Time was, the ONLY event this weekend was Wildflower!

3. I think the total pool of sponsorship support, be it in the form of cash or product support is a lot smaller than people think. Selling these sponsorships is a HUGE challenge. Typically and historically the best ones have been when there are significant inside connections i.e. the VP of Sales of companyX is also a triathlete.

4. Competition for the marketing dollars and reasouces is very deep and fierce.

5. So is the challenge of getting media attention. In this day and age, you pretty much have to make your own noise and somehow try and get it self published( witness 101's alliance with Slowtwitch), promoted and written about.

The good news is that the ranks of triathletes taking part in the sport continues to grow. I am duely impressed by my recent travels through the U.S. talking to many dealers and them telling me that business is up significantly, and more than a few shops are considering expanding either expanding their existing space or opening a second location. Tip: The women's market is key. Particularly getting the many, many women who have doen try-a-Tri's, the Danskin races or other short events and getting them to go longer.


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [sentania] [ In reply to ]
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My whole point isn't to blame or to say it wasn't well run - perhaps I stated that poorly. I'm merely commenting on what they need to have happen in order to succeed. They need to be great, because that's the current standard out there.

I guess in terms of success you could say that the fewer problems there are in the inaugural event, the better your publicity, and the better chance this race becomes a "must do." Odds are that some dude reading about the race will also read about one of the lead women being hit by a car and breaking her jaw. That's not good PR.

140 people is a tiny field. Not small, but tiny. In effect, this is a big series with an entry smaller than most small town, grass roots triathlons. 140 is small enough that you would expect things to go smoothly. You have to admit that in a field of 140, having one of the top men go off course, and having one of the top females get hit by a car, don't exactly make for good publicity. That's an awefully small field to have had problems like this...what would have happened in a field of 1000? Are they ready for those numbers? Can they safely host more racers?

I'm not blaming, I'm just asking. When the registration numbers were small a few months ago, everyone here said "don't worry, they'll be bigger by race day." Well, that didn't happen. Now there are a few instances that raise valid concerns, and the response is "yeah, but people have been known to get hit by cars or go off course in IM events too." Yes, but those events host 2500 athletes and 10,000 spectators. Considerring the numbers are so high, it's only their superb organization that prevents more accidents.

Again, I look forward to Halifax next year, if it's around, and I hope the series succeeds. But, in all reality their registration numbers are pathetic and their safety record is already blemished, after only one race. I think it's valid to ask if this series will be around next year, and if they are ready to safely handle increased numbers. We're not talking about IM, or 70.3, or HFP or Wildflower. At 140 participants, we're talking about a tiny, tiny triathlon - it might be harder to find a smaller one - and it wouldn't be the first one to go out of business.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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<< At 140 participants, we're talking about a tiny, tiny triathlon - it might be harder to find a smaller one >>

I've done LOTS of smaller ones. There's an awesome local race called SOS that's capped at 150.
Both Harriman HIM's have had that # or less for the first 2 years (although when you include the competitors in the Mini event, it has grown quite a bit year over year, so hopefully that trend will continue).
Today there was a local Du that had its biggest turnout ever, and I'm sure it was still probably <200 total.

Many first-year events start off small, since folks already have likely registered for other pre-existing events (many of which sell out ridiculously fast these days), and therefore couldn't fit this into their sked, even if they wanted to.

You want tiny? The first year of American Zofingen there were 17 starters, and 10 finishers for LC.
It's my honest belief that this race will become a major must-do event in time, given the venue and challenge.
But you've gotta start somewhere. Kudos to the RD for taking on that challenge.

I doubt Timberman or Tupper Lake or Eagleman or (insert any big, famous event) had massive participation the first year, or first several years. Those are all now regarded as among the best run events anywhere.


float , hammer , and jog

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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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...you can be sure that will the huge volunteer teams, this wouldn't have happened. Anyone who's ever volunteered at an Ironman knows that there is someone at practically every corner and every intersection, guiding the athletes. [/reply]

There were two police officers at the intersection where I made my three wrong turns. I'm not sure the guys at HFPOneOOne could have done more in terms of manning an intersection. This was not the result of poor staffing, just bad luck.


"Non est ad astra mollis e terris via." - Seneca | rappstar.com | FB - Rappstar Racing | IG - @jordanrapp | Game Designer @ Zwift

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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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It's happened at Lifetime Fitness Triathlon to a couple pros as well...and also when cops were the only ones at the intersection.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:

It's also a bummer for the 101 crew, as they've had two strange incidents already. A pro (Rapp) makes a wrong turn and goes off course, and (leading) pro woman Ashley Carusone gets struck by a car on course. Road closures, good signage, traffic control...these are all expected at a highly polished event. They're growing pains, but it makes me wonder how well organized the event was? For the one-o-one guys, if you're going to take on the big boys, then you have to be great in every department...people will expect that, since the standard is incredibly high at IM events. Hopefully they work through it, build their fan (and volunteer) base, and continue strong for the next few events, and next few years.

I can't wait to do a one-o-one event next year...Halifax, baby!

There is a state law in Florida that says you can't close a road for a race. I know in years past IMNA has illegally closed one of the roads for IMF, and every year they cross their fingers hoping all will be forgiven. This past year it wasn't closed.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Uncle Phil] [ In reply to ]
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Having Police at an intersection is no assurance that nothing will go wrong. I have been directed off course while leading a race by a cop at an intersection in the past! My sense is that the Police are there to control car traffic, which is what their expetise is and I am glad they are their to do that. Having intimate knowledge of the actual course and helping athletes with directions is not high on their responsibility list.


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Murphy'sLaw] [ In reply to ]
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Timberman sold out the first year...Granted, we had a cap of 800 total athletes. BUT, as others have mentioned, the climate is MUCH different than it was a few years ago, when it was started. There was ONE other Half Iron in New England at the time.... There are a TON of races, now. There are more triathletes, but not enough to have all of these new races with entrants of 500 or more.

So, IMO, there will be significant contraction with races. I can't imagine putting on a longcourse race with 300 people, much less 150. It's just too cost-prohibitive. While it seems the sport is hitting it's heyday, there are still too many races coming onboard. And, most of them look like they're trying to compete with longterm, well-established races....

Yes, this weekend there was St. Croix (1980's), Wildflower, and Tri One O One. Both St. Croix and Wildflower are pretty well established, I think:)


Another example is TX...We added 2 races in TX this year, as we saw a big need, with only Buffalo Springs, PrairieMan, and IronStar on the calendar, and no early season Halfs....So, after we announce our races, there are 4 new HIMs and Long Courses added to the slate, with 101 coming onboard too. Now there are like 9 longcourse events in TX alone. I personally don't think this is sustainable....

Tri One O One is a good idea, but on a national basis (and that's the way they have to think), it's competing with some big muthas.....And, with a big budget and expectations, they need big #'s I'd say.

The other part of the equation is the communities races are in. For most of the communities to buy into the whole thing, they've got to see significant bonuses for them....lots of money spent, hotels booked, etc to make it worth closing down streets and inconveniencing they locals...If your race isn't big, it doesn't generate much money for a community. But, the inconveniences still remain. Things get shaky then, especially if you sell an area on bigtime economic impact. Easier to sell the first year, not so easy the second when there are 150 athletes participating the first year.....

I don't know anyone else's gameplans/future plans, but it's a tough environment now. I wish everyone the best of luck, but rolling out another longcourse series that competes with the MDOT and 70.3 (as well as Halfmax) is a hard nut to crack.....That's not sour grapes, just reality.

Can it be done? I've always remained rather doubtful. This was even before 101 was announced....

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled programming....:)
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [KJ] [ In reply to ]
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Kevin,

Well thought out and written post. Indeed, not sour-grapes, but it will be seen as this coming from you, it's just the reality of the current situation.


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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It is indeed the reality of the situation. The race calendar is all of a sudden saturated with long course "big events", and a lot of them are of high quality. Had I wanted a good "destination" long course event this weekend, I could have done WildFlower or St. Croix or Napa...all premier events. Or I could have tried a new experience - a 101 - along with only 140 others. Sure, new might be good...but I know the others are great. Am I going to ue my vacation time for a "might be good" or a "definitely great?" Had there not been conflict with another, then that's a different story.

With 140 entrants, the people have made their choice fairly clear. This business model has faults, as much as we would hope it does not. Location, marketing and timing were issues. Would I open Joe's burger shack right across from a McDonald's? Hell no.

Make no mistake, the 101 guys ARE taking on the big guys, but the market is not there for them to wait a few years for the people to come. You cannot stay in business when you lose money, and you cannot retain venues when the town sees no benefit. These are basic principles for a RD. Remember, you have to sell an event like this to the town, and have them understand the economic impact for them to get behind it. Safe to say, there's not much impact with only 140 people in teh event.

In his reporting, Slowman alluded to a few biker/car near misses in addition to the collision. Hey, the reality is that this stuff can't happen if you're going to hope to offer a better product than the best in the business. In our little local triathlon we use portable crowd fences at intersections...we just move them when it's time for cars to go through. It means nobody is going to hit a cyclist, and that a cyclist won't go off course. IM does this too in spots. This is just one example of the little things that need to be in place if you're going to run a safe event, that people will come back to. As Slowman wrote:

Likewise, there were course issues. There was one aid station for each lap on the bike. That's one station for every 13 miles. While that would work at a race like Wildflower, it worked less well here, because of the heat and humidity. Also, there were traffic issues revolving around the road closures, with impatient drivers shooting across the road, and a few near misses with cyclists -- in addition to the one direct hit. In one sense, it was a blessing in disguise this race wasn't much bigger. I would say that Bradenton and its surrounding communities either must come to love and embrace this race, and grant it a bike course, or there cannot be a Triathlon One-O-One in Bradenton next year.

If you're going to take in the big boys, you had better come across as one right away. There are no room for errors in this business - the standard is too high already.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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GG, you're so hung up on the field size. Let it go already. 140 isn't bad for a first-up event on a crowded calendar. Challenge Wanaka (remember this is the Roth crew and this race was BIG news amongst the global tri community when announced) had something like 80 individuals, and 50 teams. If you build it [well], they will come. A quality race will draw quality fields...



blood, sweat...and big gears

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ''Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.''
- Muhammad Ali
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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You say you are not trying to be negative, but damn! Sure reads that way!!!

Are you the Tri101 accountant? If not, then how do you know that they are losing money? Or is that just an assumption?

Now take Napa for example. I raced it yesterday. I would not call it world class (yet). See the Napa thread--I gave it a "C" but would probably race it again, especially over the zoo of Wildflower (been there, done that). It was the third year for Napa and they had about 400-450. He will close it out at 500. First year I think they might have had 100-150, so he is seeing growth. Lots of out of town folks there too.

And for your earlier example of how IMNA (now NAS) does everything right. Well, mostly. Actually a very high percentage of the time, but not always. Tell that to my friends who had a bike stolen out of the IMF transition area a few years ago.

Every message you've posted on this thread sounds like you have an axe to grind. Why is that? Or maybe I'm just cranky and reading it that way.

clm

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [show pony] [ In reply to ]
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I think he should be hung up on field size...It's a pretty big part of the feasibility of a race....

You can say that Challenge Wanaka had only 80 people....don't be surprised if it doesn't continue for 2009 if the numbers remain low for 2008.

Long course tris are EXPENSIVE to put on. You either have to have really deep pockets to ride out the storm, until you can get the bigger numbers, or you end up folding. I know if I had a race with 100 athletes, I couldn't continue doing it. I'd probably do it for a second year, hoping that the good job I did the first year will yield much bigger fields the following year. But, if the #'s stayed small for the second year, I'd be forced to hang it up.

It wouldn't mean I didn't care about the event. But, I don't have the money to lose for a couple of years. At 100 people, I'd lose ALOT of money. I don't know too many rich RD's out there that can hold out for years with tiny fields....There may be some sponsors out there willing to help, but they'd have to be patient as well....

Understand, the field size doesn't have much to do with the quality of the event...But, it does have a big impact on the viability of an event.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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[reply]
[.reply]
...you can be sure that will the huge volunteer teams, this wouldn't have happened. Anyone who's ever volunteered at an Ironman knows that there is someone at practically every corner and every intersection, guiding the athletes. [./reply]

There were two police officers at the intersection where I made my three wrong turns. I'm not sure the guys at HFPOneOOne could have done more in terms of manning an intersection. This was not the result of poor staffing, just bad luck.[/reply]


And the Mr. Congeniality award goes to . . . Rappstar of COURSE :)

Tough luck, IMO your posts here you already are the champ!
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [ironclm] [ In reply to ]
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Every message you've posted on this thread sounds like you have an axe to grind.

Well, his user name is GearGrinder! :)


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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[reply][b]Every message you've posted on this thread sounds like you have an axe to grind.[/b]
[b][/b]
Well, his user name is[b] [/b][i]GearGrinder![/i][b] [/b]:)[/reply]

HHAHAHAHA Good one Fleck!

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [KJ] [ In reply to ]
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for sure, i agree about the viability of running such events and i think the Challenge guys will be pissed if the field doesn't at least double based on the glowing feedback received from this year's competitors & supporters. i was just saying 140 entries really isn't bad when you consider it's a first-time event and the apparent quality of races available on the same weekend...

i also think the quality of the field can & does influence the participation rate amongst us regular folk. its just cool racing with the pros! now if folks know the Vanhoenackers, Lavelles, Vabrouseks, Rappstars, etc of this world are racing these events (which they likely didn't until maybe a few weeks/days ago, ie, too late), and the no's still don't improve, then it's time to start worrying...

i wish the organisers well



blood, sweat...and big gears

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ''Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.''
- Muhammad Ali
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